With the Test series a thing of the past, South Africa and India turn their individual and collective intentions to the ODI series. It’s another great opportunity to see some of the world’s best batsmen and bowlers in action.
The Proteas and men in blue from the subcontinent have met 84 times in the intermediate format of the international game. South Africa have won 46 and India 35. They have shared three no-results. Their last 10 completed ODI showdowns, though, have yielded eight wins for the Indians and just two for the South Africans. Plenty of eyes will be on Quinton de Kock and Virat Kohli. They are among the best limited-overs batsmen on the planet. The former recently retired from Test cricket to concentrate on the shortest formats, while the latter has freed himself of the Test captaincy. This could empower his batting in ODI and T20I cricket going forward.
The entire three-ODI series will be played in the Western Cape, which will likely experience hot, January conditions throughout. The sun baking on the decks could make them great for batting and really tough for bowling. KL Rahul and Janneman Malan are another couple of batters worth looking out for. Rahul was reasonably successful during the Test series and would like to keep going in the one-dayers. Malan looks to have a great future ahead of him and needs to put in a big performance during these matches.
Malan plays for the Rocks – the South African franchise based in Paarl. This town will host the series opener and he could really go big at Boland Park, where the boundaries are somewhat smaller than at the other venue for this series – Newlands in Cape Town. Aiden Markram would like to feature among the runs when the final cricket results are collected for this series. He was pretty solid during a stint with the Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League last year. But South Africa have insisted on having him as an opening batsman in Test cricket, but he seems better suited in the middle order. He will, little doubt, bat at four or five in these one-dayers. He will be in a position to cash in during the so-called middle overs. Markram is world class, but has to bounce back from a difficult patch in five-day competition recently.
Temba Bavuma and Shikhar Dhawan are two more batters of notoriety set to feature at some stage or another during this series. Dhawan is a genuine force to be reckoned with at the top of the Indian order. If South Africa don’t get him out sooner rather than later, they may well be subjected to some big scores from the hard-hitting left-hander. Bavuma’s style of play is very different to that of Dhawan, but as effective. He is more of a hunter and gatherer of runs. He doesn’t bash it, but can turn through the gears when the time is right.
Fans are in for a cracking contest which will be a good follow-up to a highly-entertaining Test series between these two big nations.